Healthcare Industry News:  compression fracture 

Devices Orthopaedic Neurosurgery Oncology

 News Release - May 15, 2007

Novel Therapy for Treating Malignant Tumors in Spine Presented at World Conference on Interventional Oncology

87 Percent of Patients with Tumor-Associated Back Pain Reported Relief with No Operative or Postoperative Complications

WASHINGTON--(HSMN NewsFeed)--A novel technique for treating vertebral compression fractures (VCF) caused by malignant tumors demonstrated significant pain relief with no complications, according to a study which will be presented at the World Conference on Interventional Oncology (WCIO) tomorrow.

Approximately 10 percent of the estimated 700,000 VCFs that occur each year in the United States are caused by spinal metastases, cancers that begin in one organ and move through the blood stream to other areas of the body. Radiation therapy can cause bones to become more brittle and may increase the risk of fracture. Vertebral compression fractures are usually extremely painful and disabling to patients, and make it difficult to receive chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Unfortunately, spinal tumors present challenges that traditionally have left many cancer patients with very few treatment options. Open surgery may be too invasive and involves a long recovery. In many cases, patients spend the rest of their lives recovering from the traumatic procedure.

The study utilized two procedures to treat this patient population. First, the ArthroCareŽ (NASDAQ:ARTC ) Cavity SpineWandŽ was used to reduce malignant lesions in the vertebrae, which forms a cavity in the tumor. The device utilizes CoblationŽ, a patented technology utilizing low-energy, bipolar radiofrequency to gently and precisely remove soft tissue at low temperatures, typically 40 to 70 degrees Celsius. The creation of the cavity in the tumor was followed by vertebroplasty, or cement augmentation, which stabilized the fracture.

Bone instability caused by fracture is the cause of pain in patients with malignant lesions in the spine. In the study, 87 percent -- or 13 of 15 patients -- experienced pain relief with no resulting thermal damage to surrounding tissue, no extravasations of bone cement into the spinal column and no operative or postoperative complications, such as nerve root or spinal cord damage or new neurologic symptoms.

"Reducing malignant lesions in the spine rather than displacing them by conventional methods such as vertebroplasty alone or Kyphoplasty can avoid the potential for dislodging these tissues into the thecal sac or bloodstream. Creation of a cavity in the tumor may allow for a safer procedure in patients with VCF caused by malignant lesions," said Wade Wong D.O., F.A.C.R. "Combining percutaneous plasma-mediated Coblation with cement augmentation seems to provide a valuable addition to our options for treating painful VCF."

"Plasma-Mediated Radiofrequency Ablation Assisted Percutaneous Cement Injection for Treating Advanced Malignant Vertebral compression fractures," was published in the April issue of the American Journal of Neuroradiology. Dr. Wong, lead investigator for the study and clinical professor of radiology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, will present the results in a panel discussion on bone cancer at the World Conference on Interventional Oncology on Thursday, May 17.


Founded in 1993, ArthroCare Corp. ( is a highly innovative, multi-business medical device company that develops, manufactures and markets minimally invasive surgical products. With these products, ArthroCare targets a multi-billion dollar market opportunity across several medical specialties, significantly improving existing surgical procedures and enabling new, minimally invasive procedures. Many of ArthroCare's products are based on its patented Coblation technology, which uses low-temperature radiofrequency energy to gently and precisely dissolve rather than burn soft tissue -- minimizing damage to healthy tissue. Used in more than four million surgeries worldwide, Coblation-based devices have been developed and marketed for sports medicine; spine/neurologic; ear, nose and throat (ENT); cosmetic; urologic and gynecologic procedures. ArthroCare also has added a number of novel technologies to its portfolio, including Opus Medical sports medicine, Parallax spine and Applied Therapeutics ENT products, to complement Coblation within key indications.


Except for historical information, this press release includes forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, the company's stated business outlook for fiscal 2007, continued strength of the company's fundamental position, the strength of the company's technology, the company's belief that strategic moves will enhance achievement of the company's long term potential, the potential and expected rate of growth of new businesses, continued success of product diversification efforts, and other statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to the uncertainty of success of the company's non-arthroscopic products, competitive risk, uncertainty of the success of strategic business alliances, uncertainty over reimbursement, need for governmental clearances or approvals before selling products, the uncertainty of protecting the company's patent position, and any changes in financial results from completion of year-end audit activities.

These and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including ArthroCare's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2006. Forward-looking statements are indicated by words or phrases such as "anticipates," "estimates," "projects," "believes," "intends," "expects," and similar words and phrases. Actual results may differ materially from management expectations.

Source: ArthroCare

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